How to compensate claimants continues to be a divisive issue, with many differing opinions on how this should be done. However, for clinical negligence claims, there’s no doubt that:
These are often life changing events for those involved - Birth injury cases in particular affect not only the child, but the parents and wider family for an entire lifetime.
There’s a real impact on healthcare professionals – I’ve witnessed this first hand. My mother, a former nurse, worked on a children’s ward and was passionate about her job. She was involved in a well-publicised incident involving a child who was given an incorrect dose of medicine. The impact of that stayed with her and her colleagues for years.
The cost to the NHS is very high – There’s no disputing the fact the cost to the NHS is expensive. Including the cost of compensating claimants and legal fees of defending and pursuing these claims. In 2021, this totalled £2.26bn.
There will continue to be incidents – Unfortunately errors and mistakes can never be eradicated completely. Human or technological failings can happen in any walk of life. However, it’s in everyone’s interest to learn from mistakes to improve healthcare so there’s less human impact and cost.